I managed to make a booking a few days for the Saturday (Saturday of the Bluff Oyster festival). At first there were no availability but I called back later in the day and they managed to fit us in for a 6.30pm sitting.
We arrived promptly at 6.30 expecting it to be a full house. There were a handful of tables occupied, which I was surprised about as I was previously told they were fully booked. The restaurant is located in the upstairs section of a two storey house. The decor uncluttered, minimalist and tidy.
We decided to order a couple of drinks to warm ourselves up during this cold stormy evening. South African cider and Central Otago pinot noir, which were both lovely.
Pan Seared Large Scallops with Roe Drizzled with Lemon, Lime & Saffron Butter, served on Potato Pom-Poms accompanied by a Leafy Green Side Salad. Unfortunately these scallops were pre-frozen, which meant they were relatively soft and not fresh tasting. The scallops themselves lacked seasoning and I had to add a little bit of salt and pepper. the potato pom poms were amazing. Golden and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The green leafy salad was very good. Crisp light and refreshing with the right amount of dressing not to drown the green leaves.
Chickpea Salad – After having so much junk food earlier in the day, I needed to have more vegetables. The side salad was crisp and freshing.
Southern Waters Blue Cod served on a bed of Saffron Risotto made using Blue Cod & Crayfish Stock. Accompanied by roasted vine-ripened Tomato & drizzled with Aged Balsamic Vinegar & Parmesan infused Olive Oil. The dish looked pretty good however I was devastated to find that the cod was over cooked and lacked seasoning. The balsamic and parmesan infused olive oil should have been drizzled over the cod instead of the risotto. The risotto was also slightly overdone, as I was expecting the rice to have a little bite to it and far to salty.
Oven roasted Pork Fillet filled with Sage & Onion Stuffing, accompanied by our roasted Nectarine & Pear Relish & crunchy Pork Crackling. Served with Buttery Potato Mash & oven baked fresh Asparagus wrapped in Italian Prosciutto Di Parma Ham. The dish looked pleasing to the eye, but that was as far as I would go. The pork fillet was extremely dry. The herbed mash potato was gritty and would have been nice if the mash potato was creamy and smooth. The pork crackling was uneatable – too hard, as I was was afraid my teeth would crack in half. There was no asparagus but a courgette in its place. I could not find anything special about this dish. The highlight for me was the nectarine and pear relish, a nice sweet but tangy relish which would have gone well with the pork if it had not been over cooked.
Chef’s Ultimate Crumble ofBoysenberries & Apple tossed in Maple Syrup & topped with toasted Oats, White Chocolate, Macadamia Nut & Coconut Crumble. Accompanied by a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. I asked if the ice cream was real vanilla bean ice cream, and was informed it was not. They allowed me to change the ice cream flavour to another flavour which they had on offer for the ice cream trio of either chocolate, coffee or maple. I swapped the vanilla ice cream for maple flavoured ice cream.
The crumble came out with an accompanied side dish of apple sauce which is normally drizzled on top of the vanilla ice cream. Having sat through two courses, the size of the dessert was just right. I went ahead and drizzled the apple sauce over the ice cream and crumble.
I found that the ratio of boysenberries to apple was slightly lacking. The crumble topping was perhaps the highlight of the dish, with the toasted macadamia, coconut and rolled oats that was slightly caramelised providing a good crunch to the dessert. The apple sauce delicious, sweet but tangy which went well with the crumble and ice cream. I later found out that the apple sauce was made in house as a reduction.
Flat White – Plus 1 finished the evening with a flat white coffee where he describes it as average, as it has ‘no taste’.
It was great to see the chef bringing out the mains to each table, including ours. However it would have been better if he bothered to make conversation with us. There was not a moment where the wait staff asked how our meals where, as I was ready to provide them with some feedback. I was not able to make our booking later, we left the restaurant at 9.30pm and no one was waiting for the table, so I am wondering why they did not let me make a later reservation which annoyed me.
What was annoying is that they failed to update their menu or inform us the items that were not available on the menu that evening.
Will I need to come back here again? probably not, as I would like to try other restaurants that Invercargill has to offer. and the fact that their food is over cooked as the majority of their clientele are an older generation who likes to have their food ‘cooked’.
Location: 148 Elles Road, Invercargill